In preparation for the arrival of grandchildren this summer, I drove to the Salt River, outside of Mesa, AZ, rented an innertube, and did the locally-famous Tube Float.

The current starts out a bit more robust and then it peters out and that’s when I emerged like a huge albino salamander sporting a bit of a burn and caught the shuttle bus back to the tube rental headquarters. You don’t need to rent anything or use the bus but I did this time.

When the kids come, I’ll bring the canoe and other floating stuff for everyone to enjoy. This time I did the rental because of the recon value.

I wore a boonie hat but may need to go with more of a sombrero next time.

Rumor has it that the river gets its name from all the beer that is consumed while floating – and is subsequently recycled, being discharged into the river.  How woke and green can you get? Bobbing down a river of locally brewed and responsibly recycled beer…what a country!




Sig 716-G2


Arizona Landscape

Lower Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Slot canyons are usually not this exotic, but I have made a point of exploring them.


Ukraine War

Amid massive tank losses in Ukraine, Putin is now deploying old and outdated Russian T-62 tanks (below).

There are different views of these facts. First, the Ukrainian T-62s are scoring against the more modern Russian tanks. Much of this advantage comes from using them in defensive roles. There is nothing wrong with a T-62 and the Russians are saving their better tanks in the event of (another) war. For Putin’s finest, the T-62s will have to be good enough.

Referring to the map below:

The Russian Army withdrew from their positions on the Bakhmut – Lysychansk road. While the route can still be shelled, it is back in use by Ukraine for logistics and troop movement.

Russian forces are advancing West from Troits’ke (South of Popasna) in the only significant Russian advance in the theater. When you consider the number of Russian troops in Ukraine, it’s a very small move.


  1. I thoroughly enjoy kayaking down our local beer recycling waterway, however it’s been a couple of years since I’ve made time to go. Shame on me. We try to be as self sufficient as possible, not involving unnecessary participants. Thanks for the dope slap.

    • After this particular float, MRSLL (aka The Dragon), is interested in buying kayaks. There is sort of an information overload when looking for the right model, right manufacturer, something that fits the need without an expensive overkill. The Salt River is fast-flowing, but it isn’t deep and I don’t know that I want to bash my (expensive) carbon fiber 18′ canoe along the rocks that one will inevitably strike. A kayak is a better choice – or a paddle board. Some are inflatable these days and maybe that’s the route to go?

      I have a paddleboard manufacturer on my Rolodex and I made a call after the trip to see what I could come up with. We’re still working on that. Free would be better.

  2. i was supposed to float the local beer recycling waterway this weekend. it used to be a memorial day tradition and since 911 we stopped along the way to tribute fallen comrades. a week of rain has us flooded out this year….those slot canyons are beautiful. i’ve been meaning to get out there and walk about. sadly i feel the need to stay close to home these days. can’t imagine being stranded way out there when they pop off an emp. it would be the summary of my life, years worth of preps 2000 miles away, lol.

    • Well, you’d be welcome here if the EMP hit. In the area where I live, there is no target worth an EMP. No military bases, civilian infrastructure, etc. Yes, I know that they’re detonated in the upper atmosphere for greater effect, but I still think that we’re way too far out. So your rig might still work. Then again, getting 2000 miles through Zombieland wouldn’t be fun…unless you’re into that.

      • thanks LL, i appreciate that. i never go more than a day’s walk away without my get home gear, including zombie killers. the problem will be fuel. no grid power, no fuel. i was lucky to be part of an emp experiment back in the late 80’s. emp will destroy the grid, but many other effects are hugely over-hyped. still, we modern humans rely on the grid for everything. well, many do. people like you and i not so much.

        • Get a centrifugal hand-pump with a long pipe on it, and you can pump your own up from the tanks. Every gas station used to have one, but almost everything has become non-serious these days. I’m sure the stations would trade you fuel for something.


  3. T-62’s gave me a few headaches (and loosened my bowels) on more than one occasion during the fighting in Angola in 1987-88. The South African Olifants (upgraded British Centurions) were a match for them, and probably slightly better in some respects (thanks to Israeli and West German electronics), but the T-62 proved to be no slouch. If I recall correctly, its 115mm. main gun fired the first effective APFSDS round, and was a match for early US M60 tanks. I was told it could also fire an ATGM through the gun barrel, but I don’t know for sure. We didn’t encounter any that I know of.

    • The T-62 in some ways was superior to the T-72, but they also shared flaws. I’m no tanker but from what I’ve read as with all combat, the training and experience of the crew, skill, and motivation count for a great deal. The Israeli tankers of yesteryear fought with the hatch open and the tank commander looking around. It enabled them to get the first shot off and win. It also cost them tank commanders.

      We’ve seen Russian crew abandon tanks in astoundingly large numbers, which speaks volumes.

  4. I’ve got a friend here that has a couple of sit on top plastic kayaks that I’m sure he would lend you. Just let me know.

    • Do you need to bring somebody along to toss in and occupy the gators while you pass? Are there local democrats available or must I bring my own? I’ve heard that they won’t attack woke lawyers out of a sense of professional courtesy.

  5. As a recommendation I have a 16 foot tandem ABS kayak that is kind of a compromise river/lake design that has worked pretty well over the years. The hull has held up to a lot of scrapes and bumps into rocks. The seats are comfortable and having seat backs make paddling more comfortable especially for long distances.

    • Bandmeeting is negotiating with a kayak owner who may be willing to sell his. We’ll see how that works out.

  6. Raft. Smaller ones with decent oarlocks are nice as you sit a little higher while getting the floating experience without being half submerged, and are maneuverable. You can take a small cooler for “salty beverages”. (Pro-Tip: Cordless air pump). Another plus, they don’t flip as easy, dumping your firearms into the drink never to be recovered…maybe..sort of…during the day.

    The beauty of God’s natural landscape never ceases to amaze. Should not be taken for granted. He set a lot in motion to create those stunning places like the one you posted. I’d probably dang near cry if I was standing there. That ever happen? Yup…not too proud to say. Most recent was right off the deck watching the sun set that I swear I could see Heaven in the distance. Stirs the soul.

    • The Salt River begins with water released from Saguaro Lake. The float is 3 or 4 hours long. A raft would end up being hung up on rocks and gravel bars. I don’t think that it’s deeper than about six feet at the deepest and a lot of it is a foot or so, with channels focusing the water through rapid areas. This is NOT the San Juan or the Colorado, both of which I’ve run with rafts. It’s a local thing that people in the Phoenix area do to cool off. Popular with kids, who get out of school soon. It’s a lightweight float.

  7. Several rivers in Nebraska(that I canoed down in my youth) now feature stock tank floats. More room for people, or beverages – your choice. Any of those in your area?

    • There are lots of stock tanks in the mountains but I can’t imagine that they are anything like what you’re talking about. They’re small man-made swamps – not the least bit deep.

  8. I was in Belize tubing through a cavern.
    The wife and I held hands during the float.
    When we came back into daylight I discovered THE wife wasn’t MY wife.

  9. I floated the Salt a few times back when I was in AF Pilot Training 74-75. Back then it was not very crowded and the float lasted about 4 beers or so. I was young and had the stupidity of youth.

    • I floated from the dam area (1) down to where the current peters out (4) or about 3 hours.

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